Louis Walcott Farrakhan was born in New York on 11th May, 1933. After attending Winston-Salem Teachers College he worked as calypso singer.
Adopting the Arabic name, Farrakhan, he recorded a song, A White Man's Heaven is a Black Man's Hell, for the movement and wrote two plays that were performed in Black Muslim mosques.
When Elijah Muhammad died in Chicago on 25th February, 1975, the Nation of Islam split. Farrakhan now became leader of the Black Muslims but Muhammad's son led another faction, the Muslim American Community.
Farrakhan supported Jessie Jackson in 1983 during his campaign to win the presidency. However, he was asked to leave the campaign after upsetting Jewish votes with his comments on Adolf Hitler.
In 1995 Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, was accused of plotting to murder Farrakhan. Later that year he organised the highly successful Million Man March of African American men to Washington.